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I got to know Gauri and Martin at INNATEX in July this year - and that was a revelation in many ways. Because both of them are passionate about your company and your message - and they are simply incredibly personable! Her label HAPPYGODS produces fresh and young women's fashion that underlines femininity - and best of all: it is also completely naturally colored. Martin comes from Karlsruhe, Gauri from Mumbai - you can imagine that this mix is totally exciting. But now to my 5 questions and their 5 answers:
I discovered your stand at Innatex and was immediately enthusiastic about your young, but also timeless styles - where do you get your inspiration from?
@Gauri: I am inspired by the life and contrasts of India and Europe. Mumbai and Karlsruhe are the realities of life from which I create new designs. It is the facades of buildings, patterns in windows, trees, flowers or fences and nature itself that inspire me again and again. And of course the body lines of women and men. Our bodies are just beautiful. I really enjoy underlining body lines, playing around them or simply dressing them beautifully.
@Martin: The design of the clothes is clearly Gauri‘s task. Of course we like to discuss it a lot. I am always concerned with cuts that subtly interpret a classic dress differently, that are refined and simply underline the beauty. We want to offer dresses that make you happy! Our customers, of course, but also the “gods” because we produce sustainably and holistically.
You color completely naturally, without the addition of chemicals, which I just think is awesome - what was your greatest color discovery?
@Gauri: Color is natural. It is omnipresent. I am enthusiastic about the color palette that nature gives us. To have our fabrics dyed from this world of colors makes sense and was practiced long ago. This old knowledge of dyeing was simply neglected or simply not developed further. I spent a long time in my studies with dyeing. And it was only there that I became aware of the enormous effort and use of problematic chemicals. At the same time, I found the natural coloring process to be simple and much more obvious. At that time I dyed my clothes myself. After a long search I found a partner who can dye the fabrics for us on an industrial level using purely vegetable dyes. It comes from conventional coloring. He was also hurt by the high environmental pollution and so he passionately developed a purely vegetable coloring on a highly professional level. This means that today we can produce fabrics of consistent quality and color fastness that can withstand machine washing and retain their colors for a long time.
@Martin: my »color discovery is black. It's not a dead color, but a very lively one. It shimmers like a slate stone. The natural shine and the mineral appearance inspire me again and again. Depending on how the light shines on it, it looks different. Basically, the colors look very vital to me. It strikes me again and again when people try on our clothes that the color of the clothes and the skin work together in a fascinating way. At first I had reservations about the vegetable coloring. Most importantly, the worry that the colors will fade quickly or be awkward to wash. But the concern quickly turned out to be unfounded. If you wash our clothes at 30 ° and with a maximum of 800 revolutions and not hang them up in direct sunlight afterwards, they will last a long time and they also have to be ironed less. Like conventional fabrics, they lose some of their color brilliance over time. We want to shortly show a series of tests on our homepage to see how the clothes look after 10, 20 and more washes. By the way, I also learned a lot about washing clothes through our clothes. I use the different washing programs of our washing machine much more and only spin towels and bed linen at 1400 revolutions.
Your production is in India, in your home country Gauri, and you know every single person who makes your things by hand - tell us a little about the great HAPPYGODS family!
@Gauri: 17 years ago my mother and aunt founded their clothing company in Mumbai, which had previously produced for the Indian market. Since then I have been creating designs for you and had my own brand for young men in India. Some of our employees have been there from the start, including Arun our master cutter. I work closely with him when I create new cuts. Sameer is our man for all cases: he ensures the quality and that everyone works according to GOTS standards. He also sends the finished goods to us in Germany. When I'm in Germany I miss being close to my team. Sometimes it is hard to bear not even being able to stop by quickly. And my mother Sheela holds the strings together. She runs the business together with my aunt Seema, creates designs for her clothing line and is also the "mother of all numbers". Not employed there, but enormously important and personable is the Chai-Wala: it always brings fresh chai to the employees and that is as important as our coffee ...
@Martin: When I first attended Gauri‘s family workshop, I was surprised that almost only men are employed there. That was not at all the picture I had imagined. What I'm happy about is the consistency there. The employees have been with us for a long time. You enjoy our HAPPY GODS project and feel immensely honored that each of you has found a place on our homepage. I like to be there because there is a lot of laughter.
The GOTS certification was a milestone for you, wasn't it? Are you sometimes not inclined to throw everything away, with all the requirements and conditions? What drives you again and again?
@Martin: Gauri and I had dealt intensively with certification labels. And it quickly became clear that it can only be the GOTS label that we want to see on our clothes. Because the GOTS standard is one of the highest for sustainable clothing production. There are m.W. no other label with which one can trace back so precisely who was involved in the production process of a dress and how. In addition, the social standards are also taken into account accordingly. Certification was a bit of a hassle at first. However, it quickly became clear that most of it was already running according to the GOTS standard, only it was nowhere documented. So my job consisted of creating process diagrams and describing the processes.
@Gauri: For me the art was to bring our "old" employees up to new safety standards, i.e. our cutters have to wear steel mesh gloves to cut. They had never seen that before and that was unusual about their hands. The employees also laughed at us when we signposted the workshop, with an emergency exit, etc. That was so natural for them that they felt it was exaggerated and unnecessary. What you enjoyed was first aid and fire training. The benefits are also immediately apparent to everyone. It was funny because many of the neighbors of our workshop and the children around followed the workshop with great curiosity. It was like a Bollywood movie and long conversation in the street.
Take us a little with you into the future of HAPPYGODS - what is your next goal?
At the moment we just want to become better known and, above all, to find more retailers in Germany and Europe who include HAPPY GODS dresses in their range. We find the specialist trade important and also sustainable. At the same time, we will start our online shop from next spring. We are also considering launching a design line for men. Gauri is currently working on new designs for spring and autumn. And the GOTS recertification is due for November ... Martin is still looking for packaging alternatives to plastic for the next big shipment.
Thanks to Gauri and Martin from HAPPYGODS for the open and detailed answers to my questions!
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